[From INI BILLIE, Uyo]
Akwa Ibom State Government have commenced the training of 3,000 youths in vocational, business and skill training in a scheme designed to identify, train, mentor, empower and build capacity of existing Medium and Small Enterprises (SMEs) and Start Ups.
Governor Udom Emmanuel said beneficiaries of the “Ibom 3,000 Project” were drawn from the 31 local government areas of the state.
Speaking at the flag off of the scheme on Tuesday in Uyo, Emmanuel stated that the beneficiaries were identified and selected from across the three Senatorial Districts of the state.
He urged them to take advantage of the programme and rise to the height of their area of interest.
Emmanuel who was represented by his deputy, Mr Moses Ekpo stated that the scheme which is in its first phase is meant to improve the capacities of youths in diverse vocational, technical, entreprenueral and managerial skills in Oil and Gas, Agribusiness, ICT and SMEs to enable them secure gainful employment.
He maintained that SMEs remained the backbone of economies as they generate local capital and high level of productivity which result in economic growth, adding that the scheme is strategic as it will build capacities of youths in the state.
He mentioned that the state government would continue to patronize SMEs as key drivers of the state economy but would focus on creating and driving viable SMEs to improve their contribution to the Gross Domestic Product of the state.
In his welcome remark, Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Barr. Ukpong Akpabio said that the overall goal of the scheme is to train youths to be self reliant and relevant in the emerging opportunities in the upcoming Ibom Deep Seaport, the Oil and Gas Free trade Zone and other industrialization programme of the state government.
“Our assembling here is a call to duty and a sober reflection on the persistent demand placed on us by our people to pioneer and supervise events that will signal a new beginning of proper coordination and implementation of the vision of our Governor to drive employment and investment in our society through Ibom 3,000 Project.
“The immediate and long term outcome is to lay a solid foundation bfor the development of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises to compliment the efforts of the state industrialization and it’s potentials for employment generation,” he said.
The commissioner commended the Governor for his foresight and support for the programme, and thanked investors and partners who have continued to support the scheme to secure a brighter future for youths of the state.
He revealed that the initial plan to train 9,000 persons each year for three years was thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the Ministry was forced to reduce the number of beneficiaries to 3,000 each year to accommodate the COVID-19 protocols.
He said the state government would cater for the accommodation and feed the trainees during their 2-6 months duration of training while arrangements have been made for camps for the trainees depending on their area of need.
He appealed to the beneficiaries to be committed and dedicated to their training as it would build their confidence and resolve to be independent minded.
He urged them to be diligent as ambassadors to keep the vision afloat, meet the objectives of the vision and the problem it would seem to address.